Applying to uni for 2020? Look lively this Christmas image by Tuomas Kujansuu AdobeStock_97850746

Applying to university can be daunting

As most schools and colleges are getting ready break-up for the Christmas holiday it’s important for students to use this holiday time wisely if they still haven’t applied to university. The deadline is 15th January for starting in 2020.

Studying a degree is a significant commitment and it’s a big decision. Over 20,000 don’t start their 2nd year so it’s really important to make sure you get as much information as possible over this Christmas break. So you can make the decision that’s right for you.

Applying to university can be daunting, and if you’ve put it off and put it off – you’re really going to have to look lively. So what can you realistically do during over the Christmas holiday?

Dr Lisette Johnston, former BBC World News Editor and Head of School atScreenSpace, part of MetFilm School has some top tips:

1. SUBJECT FIRST: Which degree will best suit you? For example, there is a difference between Film Business & Screen Entrepreneurship and say, Media Studies, so you need to do your homework. League tables give some idea, but also look at uniwebsites. Most courses give a course overview to give a sense of what topics you’ll cover across the degree.
Are there similarities or differences in the courses you like?

2. UNIVERSITY NEXT: Just because a university offers your preferred degree subject and ranks well doesn’t mean it’s the best place for you. Reach out to current students via social media and forums – ask them about their experience at the university, try TheStudentRoom.com, groups on Facebook etc… Also check-out the university’s Insta account so you can get a feel for what people are responding to and how they are responding.

If you haven’t already, as soon as you can book on an Open Day. Although you’re probably going to have to apply whether you’ve visited the uni or not at this late stage. But, before you accept an offer, try to get to the campus. Remember you will spend three or four years there, and may have to move from home, so you want to make sure you will be happy. Some Unis also offer UCAS Deadline open days or open house a week before the 15th Jan deadline.

Also check out:

  • How easy it is to get to class (are your halls miles away?)
  • Are you on a campus or in a city?

Knowing these things will make it easier to make a decision when the offers start coming in.

3. THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE: The decisions you make about where and what to study are only part of the story. Find out:

  • If you get to do work experience
  • Does the university offer any relevant partnerships with industry and / or are there sandwich course options with year in industry?
  • Also look at employability rates for the university as a whole and your field of study. At my institution, 87% of our students are working within the creative industries within six months of graduating. This is very different to marketing puff saying ‘a high percentage of graduates are working’ – get the facts!

4. KNOW WHAT AND WHEN: Universities know how scary the UCAS application process can be. Does the university assign a dedicated Admissions Manager to each applicant? These will help talk you through the process, from researching a course, to personal statements and student finance.

Even if you aren’t currently studying a “relevant” subject, don’t discount applying to a course that really interests you.

To help you learn more about the course that you’re interested in, make sure you call the university as soon as you can after the Christmas break, and have a list of questions at hand. Also, make sure you know about any open days, workshops and/or applicant visits BEFORE you accept an offer.